Men’s Hockey Drops First Conference Game

Mike Najjar earned a pair of assists against Wesleyan.
Mike Najjar earned a pair of assists against Wesleyan.

The Middlebury men's hockey team saw its seven-game unbeaten streak in conference play come to an end as seventh-ranked Trinity used a power-play goal 55 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 victory on Sunday in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers (4-4-4, 3-1-4) return to action on Tuesday when they travel to 11th-ranked Norwich at 7:00 p.m., while the Bantams (8-3-1, 4-2-1) host Colby on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. face-off.

Middlebury opened the scoring 2:31 into the game, as the hosts took advantage of an early power play. Ronald Fishman set up the goal with a pass through the slot to Mike Najjar, who tucked a shot under the crossbar.

Trinity knotted the game at 1-1 just over five minutes later, when Ben Hjalmarsson's shot from the top of the crease bounced into the goal off of a Panther defender.

The hosts reclaimed the lead at the 13:48 mark on the first career goal by Kamil Tkaczuk. Brendan McGovern caused a turnover inside the Trinity blue line and pushed the puck ahead to Tkaczuk.  His shot deflected off of Bantam goalie Alex Morin and dropped into the net.

In the second period, Trinity tied the score (2-2) at the 12:51 mark on a play that started with a face-off in the right circle. Elie Vered won the draw to Brendan Cole, who set up Ethan Holdaway at the far post for his sixth goal of the season.

Later in the period with the Bantams on the power play, Ryan Cole missed on a great chance for Trinity, as his shot went wide of an open net, after good movement of the puck. Seconds later, Middlebury's Paul Falvey intercepted a pass and skated into the Bantam zone on a breakaway, only to be denied by Morin.

Middlebury held a decisive 16-4 edge in shots on goal in the third period, but couldn't solve Morin. Zach Haggerty had one of the better opportunities when he one-timed a cross-ice pass from Spencer Cage, which Morin (34 saves) slid across and stopped.

The Panthers were whistled for a penalty with 20 seconds left in regulation, and the Bantams used that advantage in overtime to net the game-winner. Sean Orlando scored the deciding on a rush up the left wing.

In goal for Middlebury, Stephen Klein made 20 saves, as the Panthers held a 36-23 advantage in shots. Each team scored on the power play, as Middlebury had five chances and Trinity was awarded three.